According to a influential watchdog group, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki’s attempt to undermine a journalist working at a competitor to the news network she is about to join, MSNBC, should be investigated by Office of Government Ethics and the Department of Justice.
As The Washington Examiner reports:
Reports circulated earlier this month that Psaki will soon leave government service to join MSNBC as a pundit after the network beat out CNN in a bidding war. While federal law requires officials to recuse themselves from any particular matters involving prospective future employers, Psaki continues to interact with MSNBC and CNN reporters during televised press briefings.
Psaki publicly disparaged MSNBC competitor Fox News during an appearance Thursday on the left-wing podcast Pod Save America, saying the cable news network “might make anyone sound like a stupid son of a b****” in reference to White House reporter Peter Doocy. The outgoing press secretary said the following day on Twitter she was not being critical of Doocy or any reporter at Fox News, but the watchdog group Protect the Public’s Trust said the damage is already done.
“Jen Psaki’s reported efforts to secure a job with a major news organization while she serves as White House press secretary created a gauntlet of ethical obstacles,” PPT Director Michael Chamberlain told the Washington Examiner.
“Despite her statements to the contrary, she appears to be willing to simply plow through without any regard to these additional obligations,” Chamberlain said. “Her latest — the demeaning of Fox News, a competitor of her prospective employer, while seeming to act in her official capacity — appears to be a misuse of her official position. Under the circumstances, it’s hard to see how the American public would not perceive the appearance of a conflict of interest.”
Many experts have pointed out the inherent potential ethical issues involved in Psaki’s quick transition from White House Spokesperson to MSNBC host.